1. Rats with indwelling aortic and right atrial cannulae were maintained on a sodium-free diet before and after renal arterial constriction combined with contralateral nephrectomy. Control animals underwent the same protocol except that non-constricting clips were used.
2. Plasma volumes in the salt-deprived animals were lower than previously determined values in animals with free access to sodium. After clipping plasma volume increased in the hypertensive animals. Extracellular fluid volume was increased equally in both normotensive and hypertensive animals on the second postoperative day only.
3. Before clipping and contralateral nephrectomy plasma angiotensin II values were higher than normal. After the operation angiotensin II concentrations fell to normal over a period of 14 days without significant differences between experimental and control groups.
4. It is concluded that high blood pressure after clipping may be in part maintained by increases in plasma volume. However, the results strongly suggest that other renal mechanisms are likely to be of major pathogenic importance.